Many of you might be here now, been here before or soon to return (like me!). You hear a lot of different opinions, stories and advice from mums around this stage. I am here to tell you my tips from my experience in hopes you might relate, find some comfort, feel less alone or pick up a tip or two.
My first piece of advice is do not judge or compare yourself to another's story or situation, this can be really mentally diminishing for you. You'll hear so many different stories and it's important to remember not one baby is the same. You'll hear as I did, "oh it is so easy" , "I have the most perfect relaxed baby", "they're sleeping through the night already" and as happy as you'll be for your fellow mums, sometimes this can be a hard pill to swallow. Especially if you're exhausted and up every 1.5- 2 hours breastfeeding day and night, trying to soothe a baby who might not settle easily, refuses a dummy and wont take bottle. Try to remember the new born stage is only for a short while, enjoy it while you can and don't compare yourself to another's story. You'll get through any hard days and have lots of amazing ones.
Rest when you can, my second and perhaps most important piece of advice, it's simple but effective. Who cares what your house looks like, you need to function... Your health is a priority, so you can show up for yourself and your little one/s.
Meal prep before birth.. Fill your freezer! I highly recommend snacks, lunches and dinners. There's nothing worse after sleepless nights, followed by a long day, then having to cook throughout. I reheated nutritious meals for months, instead of opting for unhealthy takeout. Any kind of prep is great, what I found easy for main meals was once or twice a week l would do a big slow cooker prep to save time, money and energy!
It’s ok to ask for help. Another big lesson for me, It's okay to not have it together all the time. You have just had a baby, with that comes major life and body changes. Reach out to your circle, partner, family, friends or whoever they may be. Ask for help, that may be; a warm cooked meal, to help you with an outing, get you dressed and organized in the morning, wash your hair or to drop you some supplies.
You can say no and not feel guilty! Know your limits and set boundaries. You can say 'no sorry' to social events and visitors. Even if somethings been arranged and you're suddenly not feeling up for it, reschedule and don't feel guilty, you need to look after yourself. Everyone will want to meet your precious Angel and visit all the time but this can be tiring for you. Sometimes you need days to rest, switch off, or you want to soak in some of those new born days and weeks as a small family.
Take quality time for yourself. Stop scrolling on your phone, turn the tv off, put the washing down. Give yourself some attention and love, even if it's just for an hour while baby naps. What does that look like for me? An at home facial, colouring in, laying in the sun, having that overdue catch up nap, yoga or doing some stretches.
As hard as the new born weeks can be at times, there are so many beautiful moments too that outweigh the tough times tenfold. All the baby love, pure joy, connection, cuddles, first smiles, skin on skin and more. I'm excited to do it all again, and knowing what I know now; don't compare, rest when you can, meal prep, ask for help, so no without guilt, take time for you, makes it a little less scary thinking about the sleepless nights, sore nipples and exhaustion ahead.